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Taiwan (2008)

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Taiwan 2008 year

Administrative divisions includes main island of Taiwan plus smaller islands nearby and off coast of China's Fujian Province; Taiwan is divided into 18 counties (hsien, singular and plural), 5 municipalities (shih, singular and plural), and 2 special municipalities (chuan-shih, singular and plural)

note: Taiwan uses a variety of romanization systems; while a modified Wade-Giles system still dominates, the city of Taipei has adopted a Pinyin romanization for street and place names within its boundaries; other local authorities use different romanization systems; names for administrative divisions that follow are taken from the Taiwan Yearbook 2007 published by the Government Information Office in Taipei.

counties: Changhua, Chiayi [county], Hsinchu, Hualien, Kaohsiung [county], Kinmen, Lienchiang, Miaoli, Nantou, Penghu, Pingtung, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei [county], Taitung, Taoyuan, Yilan, and Yunlin

municipalities: Chiayi [city], Hsinchu, Keelung, Taichung, Tainan

special municipalities: Kaohsiung [city], Taipei [city]
Age structure 0-14 years: 17.8% (male 2,117,051/female 1,954,709)

15-64 years: 72% (male 8,306,351/female 8,141,268)

65 years and over: 10.2% (male 1,150,001/female 1,189,492) (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products rice, corn, vegetables, fruit, tea; pigs, poultry, beef, milk; fish
Airports 41 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways total: 38

over 3,047 m: 8

2,438 to 3,047 m: 9

1,524 to 2,437 m: 11

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Area total: 35,980 sq km

land: 32,260 sq km

water: 3,720 sq km

note: includes the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy islands
Area - comparative slightly smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined
Background In 1895, military defeat forced China to cede Taiwan to Japan. Taiwan reverted to Chinese control after World War II. Following the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949, 2 million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a government using the 1946 constitution drawn up for all of China. Over the next five decades, the ruling authorities gradually democratized and incorporated the local population within the governing structure. In 2000, Taiwan underwent its first peaceful transfer of power from the Nationalist to the Democratic Progressive Party. Throughout this period, the island prospered and became one of East Asia's economic "Tigers." The dominant political issues continue to be the relationship between Taiwan and China - specifically the question of eventual unification - as well as domestic political and economic reform.
Birth rate 8.97 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $49 billion

expenditures: $5.19 billion (2007 est.)
Capital name: Taipei

geographic coordinates: 25 03 N, 121 30 E

time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Climate tropical; marine; rainy season during southwest monsoon (June to August); cloudiness is persistent and extensive all year
Coastline 1,566.3 km
Constitution 25 December 1947; amended in 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2005

note: constitution adopted on 25 December 1946; went into effect on 25 December 1947
Country name conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Taiwan

local long form: none

local short form: T'ai-wan

former: Formosa
Death rate 6.54 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Debt - external $85.8 billion (31 December 2007)
Diplomatic representation from the US none; unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people on Taiwan are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality - the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) - which has offices in the US and Taiwan; US office at 1700 N. Moore St., Suite 1700, Arlington, VA 22209-1996, telephone: [1] (703) 525-8474, FAX: [1] (703) 841-1385); Taiwan offices at #7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road, Section 3, Taipei, Taiwan, telephone: [886] (2) 2162-2000, FAX: [886] (2) 2162-2251; #2 Chung Cheng 3rd Road, 5th Floor, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, telephone: [886] (7) 238-7744, FAX: [886] (7) 238-5237; and the American Trade Center, Room 3208 International Trade Building, Taipei World Trade Center, 333 Keelung Road Section 1, Taipei, Taiwan 10548, telephone: [886] (2) 2720-1550, FAX: [886] (2) 2757-7162
Diplomatic representation in the US none; unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people of the US are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), which has its headquarters in Taipei and in the US in Washington, DC; there are also branch offices called Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in 12 other US cities
Disputes - international involved in complex dispute with China, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei over the Spratly Islands; the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" has eased tensions but falls short of a legally binding "code of conduct" desired by several of the disputants; Paracel Islands are occupied by China, but claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam; in 2003, China and Taiwan became more vocal in rejecting both Japan's claims to the uninhabited islands of the Senkaku-shoto (Diaoyu Tai) and Japan's unilaterally declared exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea where all parties engage in hydrocarbon prospecting
Economy - overview Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing guidance of investment and foreign trade by the authorities. In keeping with this trend, some large, state-owned banks and industrial firms are being privatized. Exports have provided the primary impetus for industrialization. The island runs a large trade surplus, and its foreign reserves are among the world's largest. Despite restrictions on cross-strait links, China has overtaken the US to become Taiwan's largest export market and its second-largest source of imports after Japan. China is also the island's number one destination for foreign direct investment. Strong trade performance in 2007 pushed Taiwan's GDP growth rate above 5%, and unemployment is below 4%.
Electricity - consumption 221 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2007)
Electricity - production 235 billion kWh (2006)
Elevation extremes lowest point: South China Sea 0 m

highest point: Yu Shan 3,952 m
Environment - current issues air pollution; water pollution from industrial emissions, raw sewage; contamination of drinking water supplies; trade in endangered species; low-level radioactive waste disposal
Environment - international agreements party to: none of the selected agreements because of Taiwan's international status

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements because of Taiwan's international status
Ethnic groups Taiwanese (including Hakka) 84%, mainland Chinese 14%, indigenous 2%
Exchange rates New Taiwan dollars per US dollar - 32.84 (2007), 32.534 (2006), 31.71 (2005), 34.418 (2004), 34.575 (2003)
Executive branch chief of state: President CHEN Shui-bian (since 20 May 2000); Vice President Annette LU (LU Hsiu-lien) (since 20 May 2000)

head of government: Premier (President of the Executive Yuan) CHANG Chun-hsiung (since 21 May 2007); Vice Premier (Vice President of the Executive Yuan) CHIOU I-jen (since 21 May 2007)

cabinet: Executive Yuan - (ministers appointed by president on recommendation of premier)

elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held 20 March 2004 (next to be held 22 March 2008); premier appointed by the president; vice premiers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the premier

election results: CHEN Shui-bian re-elected president; percent of vote - CHEN Shui-bian 50.1%, LIEN Chan 49.9%
Exports 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Exports $246.7 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports 0 cu m (2007)
Exports 289,200 bbl/day (2006)
Exports - commodities electronic and electrical products, metals, textiles, plastics, chemicals, auto parts (2002)
Exports - partners China 24%, Hong Kong 15%, US 13.4%, Japan 6.7% (2007)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description red with a dark blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white sun with 12 triangular rays
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 1.6%

industry: 26.8%

services: 71.5% (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 5.5% (2007 est.)
Geographic coordinates 23 30 N, 121 00 E
Geography - note strategic location adjacent to both the Taiwan Strait and the Luzon Strait
Heliports 4 (2007)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 6.7%

highest 10%: 41.1% (2002 est.)
Illicit drugs regional transit point for heroin, methamphetamine, and precursor chemicals; transshipment point for drugs to Japan; major problem with domestic consumption of methamphetamine and heroin; rising problems with use of ketamine and club drugs
Imports 0 kWh (2007)
Imports $219.3 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports 10.16 billion cu m (2006)
Imports 1.208 million bbl/day (2006)
Imports - commodities electronic and electrical products, machinery, petroleum, precision instruments, organic chemicals, metals (2002)
Imports - partners Japan 21%, China 12.7%, US 12.2%, South Korea 7.1%, Saudi Arabia 4.6% (2007)
Industrial production growth rate 7.5% (2007 est.)
Industries electronics, petroleum refining, armaments, chemicals, textiles, iron and steel, machinery, cement, food processing, vehicles, consumer products, pharmaceuticals
Infant mortality rate total: 5.54 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 5.86 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 5.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 1.8% (2007 est.)
International organization participation ADB, APEC, BCIE, ICC, IOC, ITUC, WCL, WTO
Irrigated land NA
Judicial branch Judicial Yuan (justices appointed by the president with consent of the Legislative Yuan)
Labor force 10.78 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture: 5.3%

industry: 36.8%

services: 57.9% (2007 est.)
Land boundaries 0 km
Land use arable land: 24%

permanent crops: 1%

other: 75% (2001)
Languages Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min), Hakka dialects
Legal system based on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Legislative branch unicameral Legislative Yuan (113 seats - 73 district members elected by popular vote, 34 at-large members elected on basis of proportion of islandwide votes received by participating political parties, 6 elected by popular vote among aboriginal populations; to serve four-year terms); parties must receive 5% of vote to qualify for at-large seats

elections: Legislative Yuan - last held 12 January 2008 (next to be held in January 2012)

election results: Legislative Yuan - percent of vote by party - KMT 53.5%, DPP 38.2%, NPSU 2.4%, PFP 0.3%, others 1.6%, independents 4%; seats by party - KMT 81, DPP 27, NPSU 3, PFP 1, independent 1
Life expectancy at birth total population: 77.56 years

male: 74.65 years

female: 80.74 years (2007 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 96.1%

male: NA%

female: NA% (2003)
Location Eastern Asia, islands bordering the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, South China Sea, and Taiwan Strait, north of the Philippines, off the southeastern coast of China
Map references Southeast Asia
Maritime claims territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Merchant marine total: 102 ships (1000 GRT or over) 2,537,256 GRT/4,203,423 DWT

by type: bulk carrier 33, cargo 20, chemical tanker 2, container 21, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 15, refrigerated cargo 7, roll on/roll off 2

foreign-owned: 4 (Canada 3, France 1)

registered in other countries: 489 (Bahamas 1, Bolivia 1, Cambodia 1, Honduras 2, Hong Kong 11, Indonesia 2, Italy 11, Liberia 82, Panama 306, Singapore 60, Thailand 1, UK 11, unknown 3) (2007)
Military branches Army, Navy (includes Marine Corps), Air Force, Coast Guard Administration, Armed Forces Reserve Command, Combined Service Forces Command, Armed Forces Police Command
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 2.2% (2006; to increase to 2.85% in 2007)
National holiday Republic Day (Anniversary of the Chinese Revolution), 10 October (1911)
Nationality noun: Taiwan (singular and plural)

note: example - he or she is from Taiwan; they are from Taiwan

adjective: Taiwan
Natural hazards earthquakes and typhoons
Natural resources small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, and asbestos
Net migration rate 0.61 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Pipelines condensate 25 km; gas 661 km (2007)
Political parties and leaders Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [Frank HSIEH or HSIEH Chang-ting] (acting); Kuomintang or KMT (Nationalist Party) [WU Po-hsiung]; Non-Partisan Solidarity Union or NPSU [CHANG Po-ya]; People First Party or PFP [James SOONG]
Political pressure groups and leaders Taiwan independence movement, various business and environmental groups

note: debate on Taiwan independence has become acceptable within the mainstream of domestic politics on Taiwan; political liberalization and the increased representation of opposition parties in Taiwan's legislature have opened public debate on the island's national identity; a broad popular consensus has developed that the island currently enjoys sovereign independence and - whatever the ultimate outcome regarding reunification or independence - that Taiwan's people must have the deciding voice; public opinion polls consistently show a substantial majority of Taiwan people supports maintaining Taiwan's status quo for the foreseeable future; advocates of Taiwan independence oppose the stand that the island will eventually unify with mainland China; goals of the Taiwan independence movement include establishing a sovereign nation on Taiwan and entering the UN; other organizations supporting Taiwan independence include the World United Formosans for Independence and the Organization for Taiwan Nation Building
Population 22,858,872 (July 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line 0.95% (2007 est.)
Population growth rate 0.304% (2007 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 140, FM 229, shortwave 49
Railways total: 1,588 km

standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge

narrow gauge: 1,093 km 1.067-m gauge

note: 150 km .762-m gauge (belonging primarily to Taiwan Sugar Corporation and Taiwan Forestry Bureau; some to other entities) (2007)
Religions mixture of Buddhist and Taoist 93%, Christian 4.5%, other 2.5%
Sex ratio at birth: 1.09 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.083 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.967 male(s)/female

total population: 1.026 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Suffrage 20 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: provides telecommunications service for every business and private need

domestic: thoroughly modern; completely digitalized

international: country code - 886; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and US; 2 satellite earth stations
Telephones - main lines in use 14.497 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular 23.249 million (2006)
Television broadcast stations 76 (46 digital and 30 analog)
Terrain eastern two-thirds mostly rugged mountains; flat to gently rolling plains in west
Total fertility rate 1.12 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate 3.9% (2007)
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